Last week after parking my car at work, a thought penetrated my brain. "Take your pocketbook inside today." I immediately answered and said, "No. Why should I do that? I never do that." (Because of the nature of my job, I always left my pocketbook in my trunk.) I jumped out of the car and went inside.
At the end of the day, I grabbed my coat, hat, scarf and gloves. Like I did every night, as I walked out of the building, I reached my hand inside my coat pocket for my car keys. Only this time, my coat pocket was empty. It didn’t take long for me to realize that when I got out of the car earlier that day, I put my keys in my pocketbook instead of my coat pocket. As a result, I spent 30 minutes waiting for AAA to arrive. All because I dismissed that earlier thought, “Take your pocketbook inside today.” While I waited in the cold, my mind flashed back a couple of decades when a similar thing happened.
We had traveled to Lexington, Kentucky for a church convention. One evening I was running late for night service and the elevator was taking forever. My hotel room was on the 20th floor. Even so, I decided to take the stairs. As I was walking towards the exit sign at the end of the hallway, a thought occurred to me. "Take your shoes off."
My response was immediate. "Why would I do that?" As I opened the door to the stairwell and stepped onto the platform, the thought came again, "You should take your shoes off."
I looked at the floor, the steps, then my feet. I was wearing light colored outfit, white stockings and beige Bellini pumps. I said, "I am not taking off my shoes and walking barefoot down these dirty steps!" With that retort, I quickly began going down the steps.
As I rounded the landing of the 5th floor, my heel got caught on the raised tread on the stop step. I tripped and plunged head-first down the steps onto the next landing. Stunned and afraid, I laid there in pain, crying, stockings torn, knees bleeding. I couldn't move.
Not long after, a group of young people from a sister church rounded the top of the same landing, looked down and saw me lying there. Immediately, they came to my rescue, picked me up, carried me to the elevator area of the 5th floor, sat me in a chair and went to get help. A couple of them waited with me until the ambulance arrived.
No bones were broken, but my bruises were bad enough that I had to wear a leg brace for the rest of the convention, and all the way home on the bus trip back to Philadelphia.
As I continued waiting for AAA, I realized that God was trying to show me something. I didn't realize all those years ago that those thoughts to take my shoes off were actually the voice of the Lord. But I answered back and dismissed it as a silly thought of my own. My response showed my pride and my lack of maturity in God. Had I stopped to consider the possibility that it may be God, perhaps I would have 1) walked back to the elevator on my floor and waited for the elevator; 2) took my shoes off; or 3) been more careful rounding each landing.
Jesus said, “Sheep know the voice their shepherd and a stranger they will not follow….My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:3-5; 27) The devil is always credited as being the stranger in this passage, but I have learned that sometimes this applies to our own voice, our own will, our own thoughts, and our own desires. That was a simple test for me, one that since then, I've taken and passed again and again. Until last week.
I had to ask myself when does one not recognize the voice of a loved one? When they haven’t talked to them in a while. When they’re in a noisy place and there are other voices clamoring for their attention. When they’re not listening. And when they haven’t heard the voice in a long time. We all fall short of God’s glory from time to time, but He gives us gentle reminders and that's what last week was for me. A reminder to keep the lines of communication open between me and my Savior. And a reminder to stop and consider in certain situations, "Just where is this thought coming from?"
About This Blog
This blog is inspired by my first book, A Time To Write: Inspirational Poetry for All Seasons. Thank you for visiting!